Bunhill: Directory inquiry

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The Independent Online
PEOPLE wanting to contact their MP might understandably turn to the phone book. The spanking new November 1993 edition of BT's Darlington and Dales directory even has a 'Useful Numbers' section to make things easy. And there, sure enough, is the entry for the local Darlington MP - the Conservative, Michael Fallon.

All jolly useful, except Fallon was ousted from his seat 18 months ago by Labour's Alan Milburn, who is none too happy about the inaccuracy.

Nor is Derek Foster, the Labour chief whip and member for Bishop Auckland, whose House of Commons number has been incorrectly listed as Fallon's.

Nor is Hilary Armstrong, the Labour member for North Durham, who is omitted from the directory altogether.

A mischievous Fallon, a former schools minister, says: 'It doesn't seem as if Mr Milburn has had much impact in his one and a half years as MP if he can't even get his name in the phone book.'

Says a spokesman for BT, which quite coincidentally, I'm sure, counts Norman Tebbit among its directors, 'We are aware of the problem. It's basically due to human error.'

Yes, but whose human error?

'Oh, our human error,' says a contrite BT spokesman, apparently regarding any other possibility as absurd. 'We have apologised to each of the MPs, and we're going to take advertisements in local newspapers giving the correct numbers of their constituency offices.'